OPINION: So you think you’re not a leader? Think again


Illustration by Adamaris Sanchez/The Et Cetera

Keturah Jones, Contributor

 Leadership styles comes in all forms — Authoritative, Democratic, Transformational, Coaching. We are all leaders in our own style. My personal business studies and certifications are what prepared me to motivate others who might be in search of personal guidance. 

How do you know you’re a leader? Simply look at your passions and desires. These things are your compass, or personal guide. The key is knowing exactly what you want and identifying why you’re on this earth. 

The best way to achieve this is by observing your likes and dislikes on a day-to-day basis. For example, maybe you love doing tasks that support people. If so, you might be a leadership coach in the making. 

Do a little brainstorming, get your ideas on paper or have friends and family write a list of the qualities they see in you so you’ll have tools to build a dynamic personal plan. And that’s how you’ll discover your purpose. Then begin mapping out steps to achieve a personal mission statement. 

From there, begin drawing up a plan to lead your personal or professional life in a specific direction. Become familiar with the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities you have so you can know yourself clearly. 

Discovering the leader within isn’t hard. Practice personal coaching by asking, “Do I have the skills? Do I lack the will? Am I willing to make a commitment to myself?” 

Without answering these questions, you run the risk of sabotaging your life and/or family. Being a parent is a leadership position, so it’s up to you to lay out a plan. 

I call this “keeping 100% real.” Be great at being honest with yourself and others. Truth and purpose support each other. 

Going after money is only half of the equation. Purpose is what matters, because when you find your purpose, everything else will fall in line. Chasing the least important thing will leave you feeling unfulfilled. 

Examining motives will keep you from following a facade. Discipline is automatic and you will not backslide into old habits when you keep motives pure. 

The best solution is to be a generous listener, be constantly hungry for how you can get better and then work on that goal. Books, magazines, podcasts and classes will help you affect a change on a personal level. 

If you are not invested in your continual growth and development, there is no way you will effectively lead yourself or your family. Doing the correct thing for you is important. There are no shortcuts to greatness. 

My favorite book is Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” In the book Covey says, “be the leader you desire to see in others.” Are you dependable, confident and humble? Are you willing to serve? 

Despite all this, you will make mistakes. But failures are lessons too, so learn from them and keep moving. Moments of loss can have a positive or negative impact on your life and the lives of others. Sometimes failures can be the best teacher! 

This vision is your personal leadership plan. You are the master builder of your world. People call this “having a gut feeling,” because that’s where personal leadership comes from. 

You cannot give away this strength to others by looking for approval. You must trust in your own decisions, though I’m not suggesting you avoid research. Martin Luther King said “You have to believe in your own somebodiness.” 

Once you settle into a place where you are proud to acknowledge what you want for your personal life, then start acting like the leader that you are. Move forward acknowledging gaps between what you know and don’t know. 

Practice, practice, practice and practice some more. Self-leadership is never-ending. You will always be in growth mode, or at least you should be.

— Keturah Jones is a contributor and a communications major